Carrizo Plain National Monument
The last of California’s grasslands became a National Monument in January 2001. Jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management, The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Carrizo Plain has two free campgrounds made for car camping. Nameless dirt roads are also open to car camping in the foothills of the Caliente and Temblor Ranges. Just remember that services of any kind are 50 miles in any one direction, so go over that gear list before heading out to what is also known as “California’s Serengeti” for its herds of pronghorn antelope, Tule elk and black-tailed deer. If there’s one item not to forget before venturing to the Carrizo Plain, it’s a pair of binoculars. The grasslands are teeming with other wildlife, the most endangered species in the Golden State. Some of those include the giant kangaroo rat, San Joaquin kit fox, antelope, ground squirrel and blunt-nosed leopard lizard. And if you’re a bird nerd, those binos will come in handy scanning for all those hawks, falcons and eagles patrolling the grasslands.
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